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Libya Oil Exports Return To Normal Following Major Protests

Crude export operations have returned to normal at two major Libyan oil ports after days of protests and sit-ins that had disrupted loadings, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Thursday.

Protesters at Libya’s oil export terminals Es Sider and Ras Lanuf erupted last week, disrupting oil tanker loadings.

Loading operations and exports from a third oil port, Hariga, were also blocked due to protests over the past week.

Protesters at the Es Sider terminal derailed the loading of a Suezmax tanker, Yannis P, sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg in the middle of last week.

The demonstrators were demanding that NOC’s chairman Mustafa Sanalla resign.

In a separate protest, graduates were protesting at the port of Tobruk in eastern Libya, demanding employment, Argus reported last week, citing Libyan shipping sources.

This week, NOC announced on Wednesday the end of the sit-in at the Hariga oil port and the resumption of crude export operations.

Related: Russian Oil Exports Under Fire As Iraq Slashes Prices

“The National Oil Corporation has listened to all the demands of the protesting youth, which were represented in their request to obtain suitable job opportunities. NOC has expressed its understanding of the legitimacy of the demands, and its reservations about the means by which their demands were expressed, explaining to the youth the great technical and economic consequences of the oil closure,” the company said on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the corporation announced the end of the protests at the Es Sider and Ras Lanuf oil ports, after NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla held a meeting with the local elders.

The protests at Libyan oil terminals came at a turbulent time for the oil industry of the OPEC member exempted from the OPEC+ cuts. The tension among Libya’s top oil officials escalated at the end of last month when Libyan Oil Minister Mohamed Oun said he had suspended NOC’s chairman Sanalla.   The tension between Oun and Sanalla has been growing since Oun was appointed oil minister in March in the government of national unity, which includes a post for an oil minister for the first time in five years.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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